In 2013 Health Canada held a by-invitation-only roundtable on the issue of paid plasma donations following our efforts to raise concerns over the application by the private Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR) to go into competition with the public Canadian Blood Services.
CPR had plans to immediately open two clinics in downtown Toronto to pay donors for plasma that would be turned into pharmaceutical product. A third in Hamilton was on its way. Their website says they still plan to do so in 2014.
Former Ontario Premier Bob Rae has jumped into the debate, noting that both Hema-Quebec and Canadian Blood Services are now both opposed to licensing for CPR.
Writes Rae in today’s blog post: “Those countries that have allowed “pay for plasma” schemes are regretting the decision. The reason is simple, and is based on practical evidence. These clinics typically rely on people who need the money. There is every reason to question the safety of the supply. Just as important, paying some people depletes the pool of potential donors, particularly among younger people who blood agencies around the world are trying to recruit to give blood as volunteers.”
Rae does not understand the delay by Heath Canada in saying no to the license application by CPR.
“For whatever reason, it’s taking federal and provincial governments a long time to make up their minds. It shouldn’t,” writes Rae. “The integrity of the blood supply, and our continuing resolve to keep a strong volunteer base, should make the answer simple: no to “pay for blood or plasma”. Period.